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What is the optimum temperature to prepare yerba mate?

What is the optimum temperature to prepare yerba mate?

Although the way to prepare yerba mate seems complicated to many people, in reality it is enough to remember only a few simple rules. We explain what temperature is optimal for brewing yerba mate and why it is so important. If you want to learn how to brew mate tea correctly, read our article!


  1. Yerba mate – the drink of power from the Guarani Indians
  2. Why not pour boiling water over yerba?
  3. What is the optimal water temperature for brewing yerba mate?
  4. How to accurately check the temperature of water for yerba mate? Useful accessories
  5. How to use a thermometer for brewing yerba mate?
  6. Yerba mate in the cold version!

Yerba mate – the drink of power from the Guarani Indians

Let's start at the beginning. Yerba mate is an infusion made from Ilex paraguariensis, a plant that in its natural habitat is found in South America, on the border of Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Uruguay. Historically, these areas were inhabited by the Guarani Indians – they were first to discover the miraculous properties of yerba mate. Hundreds of years ago, Guarani Indians noticed that leaves of the plant gave them energy, increased concentration and reduced feelings of hunger. Back then, the Indians simply chewed the raw leaves of yerba mate. Later, they began to make an infusion from the dried and crushed leaves. Yerba mate was a secret, and only the Indians knew about the miraculous properties of the divine plant. That was until the Jesuits arrived in South America. They got to know the life and culture of the Indians and became fascinated with their favourite brew. The Jesuits brought yerba mate to Europe, thanks to which it slowly began to gain popularity – although it was not an easy road. Today, more and more people around the world know about this wonderful drink. Preparing and drinking yerba mate is a magical ritual. Special tools are needed for this: calabash – the vessel in which mate tea is brewed, and bombilla – the straw through which the brew is drunk. Before the water is poured into the vessel, there are a number of steps that make drinking yerba mate easier and more enjoyable. Important is: the amount of the dry product, the way it is placed in the mate gourd and the temperature of the water that is poured over yerba mate. It may seem complicated at first glance, but by delving a little deeper into this magical world, you will quickly get the knack of it.

Why not pour boiling water over yerba?

Sometimes people unfamiliar with yerba mate confuse it with tea. Yerba mate is not a tea. Although they have many similarities, the main difference is that both infusions are derived from two completely different plants. The fact is, however, that dried yerba mate somewhat resembles tea or other herbal mixtures in its form. These are usually poured over boiling water. Their preparation is trivial: just boil water, put a bag of tea or herbs into a cup, pour in the still bubbling boiling water and wait a few minutes for it to infuse. The whole thing literally takes a few minutes. The similarity to tea suggests a similar way of preparing yerba mate. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In the case of yerba mate infusions, the matter is not so simple – the water must not be too hot, and pouring fresh boiling water over the dry mate is not an option at all! Nor can it be too cold. So what is the ideal temperature for brewing mate tea and why is it so important? After all, it is the temperature of the water that determines the properties of the brew, as well as its taste.

What is the optimal water temperature for brewing yerba mate?

The right water temperature for brewing yerba mate is one of the most important rules for making this caffeine, vitamin and mineral-rich brew. When preparing mate, you can skip the use of a special vessel or making a mound. You can also use a regular tea brewer and not use a bombilla. However, the brewing temperature of yerba mate must always be right. Mate poured over boiling water or water that has cooled too much will be unpalatable and will not release its properties. So, if you want to drink yerba mate in such a way as to get the best out of it, you need to prepare it right. The optimum temperature of the water to be poured over yerba mate is around 70-80 °C. Higher temperatures will cause the leaves to "scald" and the caffeine content of the brew will be reduced, which is bad news for people who drink yerba mate mainly for its stimulating properties. Furthermore, boiling water causes the brew to take on an excessively bitter taste, which often bothers even advanced mate drinkers. Too cold water, on the other hand, makes the infusion weak – it does not stimulate as much as it should and does not fully release its taste and aroma qualities. Water that is too hot or too cold can spoil the taste of even the best yerba mate!

Yerba mate temperature

How to accurately check the temperature of water for yerba mate? Useful accessories

Sensing the right water temperature for pouring dried yerba mate may not be as easy as it seems. Especially at the beginning of the adventure with mate tea. Poorly brewed mate, too bitter and too weak, can alienate people who are encountering the taste for the first time. So how to brew yerba mate correctly? How can you check how many degrees the water is? You can do it "by feel", waiting about 4-10 minutes after boiling the water to let it cool to the right temperature. The time depends on the material of the kettle or container into which the water will be poured to cool. And what is the method to accurately check the temperature of the water for yerba mate? In order to be able to control the temperature of the water accurately, you can support yourself with a special analogue thermometer or a kettle with a built-in thermometer. These are not essential tools for the preparation of yerba mate and you can easily do it without them, but these accessories are certainly useful, especially for those who are just beginning their adventure with yerba mate!

How to use a thermometer for brewing yerba mate?

How to read the temperature of water on a thermometer? It's easy! A thermometer – whether analogue or one built into a kettle – consists of a dial on which the temperature range is marked (usually from 0 to 100 °C) and a pointer. An analogue thermometer has a long needle, which is usually concealed in a practical case. The case additionally often has a clip, which makes it easy to place the thermometer in a tall jug, for example. Each type of thermometer is very sensitive, so they measure the temperature with great precision. You just need to place the needle of an analogue thermometer (after removing the case) in boiling or simmering water and wait for the pointer to show the desired temperature. In the case of a kettle with an integrated thermometer, things are even simpler – just switch off the kettle at the appropriate time or wait until the water inside has cooled to the optimum temperature. A thermometer for checking the temperature of water for brewing yerba mate is a gadget that makes it much easier to enter the world of yerba mate! In addition, it is not only useful for brewing mate tea or other brews, but also for cooking. You can use it to measure the temperature of a baking cake or roast, for example.

Yerba mate in the cold version!

As we mentioned, the optimal water temperature for yerba mate is around 70-80 °C. However, when buying a particular product, it is worth paying attention to any manufacturer's recommendations – it happens that some types of yerba mate need to be brewed in a different way. For example, some products are designed strictly for the preparation of tereré – cold yerba mate. The cold version of mate is particularly loved by Paraguayans to drink, due to the hot climate and high temperatures found in Paraguay. In this case, the colder the water, the better. You can even pour a portion of dried yerba mate over water or juice with the addition of ice cubes! A drink prepared in this way will provide the perfect stimulant, refreshing and will certainly bring relief on hot days. Tereré type of yerba mate can also contain herbal or citrus additives to further enhance the feeling of freshness.

Source of information:

  1. Wikipedia: Yerba mate.
  2. B. Kruszewski et al, Influence of brewing parameters on caffeine content in Yerba Mate infusions, 2012.


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Analog Thermometer

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